Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Silvestre Soto and Olga Galvan, On Behalf of v. Castlerock Farming and Transport Inc.

April 13, 2012

SILVESTRE SOTO AND OLGA GALVAN, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CASTLEROCK FARMING AND TRANSPORT INC., AND DOES 1 TO 20 INCLUSIVE,
DEFENDANT.



ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

I. History

This case arises out of a complex procedural history. Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of farmworkers who have worked for Defendant Castlerock Farming and Transport, Inc. ("Castlerock") in the past. The named plaintiffs were Silvestre Soto ("Soto") and Olga Galvan.*fn1

Soto alleges that Castlerock failed to abide by a number of California regulations concerning uncompensated "off the clock" work, forced purchasing of tools, meal and rest periods, time-keeping documentation, and wage statements. The origins of this case can arguably be traced back to a suit filed on March 5, 2004, in Superior Court, County of Kern. The complaint in that case did not have Soto as a named plaintiff, but was a class action against Castlerock's farm labor contractor concerning the same subject matter as this case. Doc. 84, Ex. C. The present complaint lists nine causes of action. At issue in this motion is Soto's seventh cause of action under California's Private Attorneys General Act ("PAGA"). Castlerock has moved for summary adjudication of this claim, arguing that Soto failed to comply with the administrative requirements of PAGA within the statute of limitation. Doc. 74. Soto disputes Castlerock's interpretation of the operative law. Doc. 88. The matter was taken under submission without oral argument.

II. Legal Standards

Summary judgment is appropriate when it is demonstrated that there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Fortyune v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc., 364 F.3d 1075, 1080 (9th Cir. 2004). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of identifying the portions of the declarations (if any), pleadings, and discovery that demonstrate an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). A fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986); Thrifty Oil Co. v. Bank of America Nat'l Trust & Savings Assn, 322 F.3d 1039, 1046 (9th Cir. 2002). A dispute is "genuine" as to a material fact if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006).

Where the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the movant. Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). Where the non-moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant may prevail by presenting evidence that negates an essential element of the non-moving party's claim or by merely pointing out that there is an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving party's claim. See James River Ins. Co. v. Schenk, P.C., 519 F.3d 917, 925 (9th Cir. 2008). If a moving party fails to carry its burden of production, then "the non-moving party has no obligation to produce anything, even if the non-moving party would have the ultimate burden of persuasion." Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Companies, 210 F.3d 1099, 1102-03 (9th Cir. 2000). If the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The opposing party cannot "'rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [its] pleading' but must instead produce evidence that 'sets forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Estate of Tucker v. Interscope Records, 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008).

The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed, and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Stegall v. Citadel Broad, Inc., 350 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2003). Nevertheless, inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See Juell v. Forest Pharms., Inc., 456 F.Supp.2d 1141, 1149 (E.D. Cal. 2006); UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Sinnott, 300 F.Supp.2d 993, 997 (E.D. Cal. 2004). "A genuine issue of material fact does not spring into being simply because a litigant claims that one exists or promises to produce admissible evidence at trial." Del Carmen Guadalupe v. Agosto, 299 F.3d 15, 23 (1st Cir. 2002); see Galen v. County of Los Angeles, 477 F.3d 652, 658 (9th Cir. 2007); Bryant v. Adventist Health System/West, 289 F.3d 1162, 1167 (9th Cir. 2002). Further, a "motion for summary judgment may not be defeated ...by evidence that is 'merely colorable' or 'is not significantly probative.'" Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986); Hardage v. CBS Broad. Inc., 427 F.3d 1177, 1183 (9th Cir. 2006). Additionally, the court has the discretion in appropriate circumstances to consider materials that are not properly brought to its attention, but the court is not required to examine the entire file for evidence establishing a genuine issue of material fact where the evidence is not set forth in the opposing papers with adequate references. See Southern Cal. Gas Co. v. City of Santa Ana, 336 F.3d 885, 889 (9th Cir. 2003). If the non-moving party fails to produce evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. See Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Companies, 210 F.3d 1099, 1103 (9th Cir. 2000).

III. Statements of Material Facts

A. Defendant's Facts

1. Plaintiff Silvestre Soto worked on a ranch owned by Castlerock on only one occasion, a two-week span beginning September 17, 2003 and ending October 1, 2003.

2. The only document identified by Plaintiff as providing notice of Mr. Soto's claim for relief under California's Private Attorney General Act is dated January 24, 2006, more than two years after Mr. Soto completed his employment at Castlerock's ranch.

B. Plaintiffs' Facts

3. On January 24, 2006, Plaintiff sent a letter, via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the LWDA and Castlerock Farming and Transport, Inc.

4. The original complaint in this action was filed in Kern County Superior court on March 5, 2004.

5. The original complaint names a farm labor contractor and Does 1-30 as defendants, and was brought on behalf of all others similarly situated and in the interest of the general public pursuant to California's Unfair Competition Law, Bus. & Prof. Code §§17200 et seq.

6. The following claims were asserted against the farm labor contractor and Does 1-30 as defendants in the original complaint: (1) Failure to Pay Wages Earned; (2) Failure to Provide Tools and Equipment; (3) Failure to Pay Minimum Wages: (4) Failure to Provide Meal & Rest Periods; (5) Failure to Pay All Wages Due on Discharge; (6) Failure to provide Required Itemized Wage Statements; (7) Failure to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.